Soutzoukakia Smyrneika, are spicy sausage-shaped meatballs, which are lightly fried and then cooked in a delicious tomato sauce and come from the once Greek part of Asia Minor, Smyrna.
The post has been updated in March, 2022 with Air Fryer Soutzoukakia. Just scroll further down and you will find the instructions.
Before proceeding to the recipe, I want to thank each and every one of you again for the lovely comments regarding the cookbook.
Today I want to share with you a delectable recipe sent to me by one of my Greek readers. She wrote to me at the beginning of summer and sent me her grandmother’s authentic recipe of soutzoukakia, who lived in Smyrna.
Smyrna was situated on the eastern shores of the Aegean Sea, opposite Chios in Asia Minor, with mainly Greek population.
My reader says that from the notes she read in the recipe, there were some other variations of this recipe but it was a meal served on very special occasions like engagements or weddings. Cinnamon was added as it was considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Soutzoukakia, original recipe by Aikaterini-Deligiannis Vouka, from Smyrna.
You will see below that I have made a few minor changes to mine.
3 kilos fresh ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp butter
1 heaped tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, salt and pepper (allspice optional)
Peel the tomatoes, remove seeds and grate. Cook them on low heat for about half an hour, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the sauce thickens.
For the meatballs
1 kilo ground beef
3 slices white bread without the crust, soaked in the wine
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, allspice, cumin, cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, minced
Mix all the ingredients. Form into oblong small sausages and carefully lightly fry them in olive oil. Cook them in the sauce for about 30 minutes on low heat.
Some minor changes I made
In the original recipe her grandmother used fresh ripe tomatoes.
As I made this recipe recently when tomatoes are out of season, I preferred to use both tinned tomatoes and tomato juice, although we get tomatoes year round in Greece, but they are more expensive now and don’t taste that good.
I do recommend fresh tomatoes when they are cheap and in season.
I never cook with butter, so I substituted it with olive oil to make the sauce.
There was no onion in the original sauce, but I believe than adding an onion improves a tomato sauce and instead of using sugar, I added honey.
In the recipe there were no specific amounts of spices, so I adjusted them to fit our taste, so it’s up to you to add more spices but I think the analogy was well balanced.
I don’t add too much salt in my recipes so you might want to add more.
For those on a diet, instead of frying the meatballs, you can make them the same way but bake them in the oven .
Line a baking tin with parchment paper, place the meatballs and bake them in a preheated oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 F for about half an hour. (Read below to see how the are made in the Air Fryer).
They do not need to brown but just to firm up and then continue cooking them in the sauce.
I made them when my husband was on a gallbladder diet.
However, spices are not recommended when on a gallbladder diet, so just reduce spices to half quantity for a milder flavour but still delicious.
Update 16 March, 2022
Soutzoukakia in the Air Fryer
As our family is now with only 3 persons, I had to make a smaller amount than the recipe in the recipe card.
The sauce: The sauce was made the same way as in the recipe card but using only 500 grams passata and about 1/2 cup water. The remaining ingredients were slightly adjusted.
The meatballs: I used 500 grams ground veal, which made 23 meatballs. The only change I made to the recipe was to add 1 extra tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. The olive oil was added instead of brushing them and the red wine vinegar, was used to make the meatballs light and fluffy.
As my air fryer is very new, I had to improvise as to the time and temperature, as there is no option for meatballs.
I used the installed program for drumsticks. This function is set for 20 minutes at 180oC / 350oF. I set the timer at 10 minutes in order to check how they were doing and at 10 minutes they were perfect.
I baked them in two batches for 10 minutes each.
When done you see how much oil and fat there is in the air fryer. This is what makes them much healthier than the fried ones and they taste so much better!
After both batches were baked, I put them in the sauce and cooked them for 10 more minutes.
I served them over rice.
For the Tomato Sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion
- 500 grams (1.10 lbs) tomato puree
- 1 tin whole tomatoes with the juice (400 gr. – 14.11 oz)
- ½ cup water
- 1 large tbsp thyme honey
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 allspice berries
- 1 tsp salt
For the meatballs:
- 800 grams ground veal or beef
- 3 slices white bread without the crust
- 1/3 cup red dry wine
- 2 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice,
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1 very large clove garlic (about 1 tsp)
- Olive oil, for frying (about 1 cup for a small deep frying pan)
- Puree the onion together with 2 tbsp olive oil in a food
- Heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the onion for a few minutes and then add all the spices and stir to get out their fragrances. Add the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
- Meantime, soak the bread together with the wine, lemon juice and 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Squeeze the bread and use the fluid to puree the garlic in a
food processor. Then add the bread in the food processor and mix.
- Put the ground meat in a bowl with all the spices and bread.
Mix well and let it rest for about ½ to 1 hour in the refrigerator for the flavours to mix.
- Shape the meatballs into oblong small sausages, around 8 cm (3 inches) long. Heat about an inch of olive oil in a skillet and fry them just until lightly golden brown on both sides. Remove them directly into the sauce.
- Bring the sauce to boil, lower heat and simmer for about
another 20 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Soutzoukakia in the air fryer: I used the option for drumsticks. This function is for 20 minutes at 180oC / 350oF. I set the timer at 10 minutes in order to check how they were doing and at 10 minutes they were perfect. Check the post for more details.
I served the soutzoukakia with olive oil mashed potatoes but if you like you can serve them with fried potatoes, rice or pasta.
Nutrition InformationYield 50 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 69Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 14mgSodium 107mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 5g
Gallbladder Diet: The calories are much less if the meatballs are baked in the oven. For gallbladder diet, you should add much less spices.
PIN FOR LATER
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!!